Do you have a friend who is going through a hard time? The best thing you can do is to be there for them.
It can be hard to know what to say during a crisis. However, all your friend really needs to hear is simply, "I’m thinking about you. Is there anything you need?"
Here are a few concrete steps you can take to support a friend going through a bad time.
1. Let them know you are there if they need to talk. They may not be ready to talk, but just keep making the offer. It is appreciated, even if they don’t take you up on it.
2. Offer your time. If someone is going through a crisis, help with the basics of life, such as cooking, cleaning, and taking care of the dog is invaluable. Think about what your friend could use help with, and pitch in.
3. Lots of friends trying to help? Step up and organize the group. Assign someone to make a casserole, someone to check on the dog while they are at the hospital, and so on.
4. Offer your skills. Do you have expertise your friend needs? Now’s the time to offer it. You could help fix their car, proofread their new resume, or set up a budget.
5. Connect them with your network. Think about the experts you know — lawyers, doctors, plumbers, computer whizzes — and offer a trusted recommendation.
6. Adjust your expectations. If your friend is going through a crisis, they may not be able to do the things they used to do (whether temporarily or permanently), and they need your understanding. If they’ve lost their job, meet at the park instead of the trendy bar. If they’ve broken a leg, organize a potluck at their house (and help clean up!). If they are fighting a serious illness, recognize that they may only be able to talk for a few minutes, instead of hours. When in doubt of what they might need from you, just ask.
Showing thoughtfulness about what they are going through is the very essence of friendship.